Look, I don’t claim to be an expert on marriage or anything else, but Greg and I will be married 19 years tomorrow, and, since we like each other almost always these days, I think it’s fair to say we’ve learned a thing or two over the past couple decades. If you want to read about how we actually make it work (hint: I’ve stopped giving the usual answers like “marriage takes hard work” or “we’re still together by the grace of God” or “marriage isn’t 50/50, it’s 100/100”), go here. For now, I just want to acknowledge one small, almost negligible, marital fact:
Spouses are repulsive.
It’s a timeless truth, really.
Spouses, like humans, are just deeply, unavoidably repulsive from time to time.
Not, like, all the time. Or we wouldn’t marry them and be all OF COURSE I WILL SPEND THE REST OF MY LIFE WITH YOU. And I CAN’T WAIT TO SHARE YOUR BATHROOM. And I ADORE THE WAY YOU CHEW YOUR FOOD.
But occasionally spouses are repulsive.
For example, Greg makes a noise in his throat.
And it’s not your average, every day kind of throat-clearing noise.
It’s a special noise. A unique noise. A singular, exceptional, extraordinary noise. And also a subtle noise that the rest of the world will never notice. But a constant noise so that I, his loving spouse, will.
I recently asked Greg what the noise is, exactly, since I’ve never heard another person make it. He explained that it’s a cough. A closed-mouth cough of some kind, deep in his throat, which sounds like the glug-glug of the final death throes of drowning, I imagine, if such a sound was ever recorded. And he went on to explain that he makes it so he doesn’t spray germs by coughing aloud like the rest of the Neanderthals with whom he lives who cough into our elbows or, you know, on every available surface.
He has a reason for the noise! A kind and thoughtful reason! And I, because I adore him and wanted to repay kindness with kindness, explained to him that it’s repulsive anyway.
Now, Greg is nicer than me, and so he never (ever) points out with words the things I do that are repulsive. And, to be fair, they are legion. But Greg’s face – Greg’s awesome, expressive, transparent, not-at-all repulsive face – points them out for him. It’s an added service his face provides. Like when computer-and-electronics literate Greg is confronted with my irrational preference for an iPhone over an Android. Greg, bless his heart, verbally supports my use of whatever technology I find most helpful, and then when we discuss anything Apple-related, he looks like he’s suddenly afflicted with stomach flu, malaria, diphtheria, and, well, all the -ia’s. Every deadly, life-threatening -ia in all the world. His skin goes gray. He gets clammy and cold. There’s a thin sheen of sweat on his forehead and palms. And he looks like he’s going to harf, complete with shallow breaths and lots of pre-gag swallowing. And if you are an anti-Apple crusader like Greg, I’m certain you can understand the kind of commitment and strength it takes for him to somehow continue to be supportive of a spouse who chooses to align herself with the Spawn of Satan. It’s tough, man.
This weekend, in addition to discussing my steadfast affection for my iPhone 4, and as a sort of pre-anniversary gift of despair for my long-suffering husband, I became a Hummingbird Enabler.
We saw the hummingbird on Wednesday, perched high in our garage, so we left the garage door open, thinking it mistakenly flew inside and would eventually find its way out.
On Thursday, it was still there, though it moved around from time to time, so we left the garage door open again.
On Friday, the same.
By Saturday, it became clear that the hummingbird was either nesting in our garage or had come there to die. And I have to say, our garage is an excellent place to off oneself, filled as it is with hazards, both bio and regular, and all sorts of nooks and crannies and collapsed piles ideal for hiding a dead body. As far as nesting goes, it’s a less spectacular site, but since I live under the same roof, who am I to judge?
And so, on Saturday, following our heart-to-heart about our phone plan, Greg and I had the What to Do About the Hummingbird conversation.
His solution? Make sure a wild, pooping animal isn’t nesting in our garage. Shoo it from our home. And if it dies, it dies.
My solution? Buy a hummingbird feeder and invite it to live with us forever. Also, nurse it back to health if necessary, offer to dial the anti-suicide hotline on its behalf, and have an Audubon-certified therapist make a few house calls.
Greg’s face didn’t think my solution was a very good one, so I went out and bought a hummingbird feeder for Greg for our anniversary so we could hang it in our garage and provide our new family member with either regular food or a lovely last meal.
Greg LOVED it.
Greg’s Face made me hang it outside the garage.
In conclusion, can we pretty please give this man a round of applause for putting up with me for 19 years? Because I think we can all agree he’s earned it.
Happy Anniversary, Greg!
I love you love you.
P.S. I haven’t seen the hummingbird since you spent a little time in the garage yesterday, Greg. Just saying…